April-July 2017

Four Wheeling Again :)  
Wheeling Again

Four Creeks State Forest - 03/26/2017 
 03/26-4/1/17 - Pecan park
Back In Jacksonville Florida
03/26 to 4/1 Bacl in Jacksonville for more Mayo stuff. Time of another big review and visits with the Doctors and all that. But we had a couple days to ourselves first so the picture at the top was a little side trip to Four Creeks State Forest which is just north of Pecan Park (about 10 miles north). We'd been to this spot before, back is 2012 and like that visit to the nearby forest we found a creek and enjoyed our picnic. Then we bounced around a little more before heading home. All in all another great day for us both.

3/28 was testing day and everything went pretty much as expected. Just a bevy of testing,

07:00 Mayo 5S port visit, 08:00 Canady 2L Lab Container Visit, 09:00 Davis 7E Arterial Blood
09:15 Davis 7E Pulmonary Testing, 09:45 Davis 7E Pulmonary Function Test, 11:25 Davis 2E Electrocardiogram
11:30 Davis 2E Chest X-ray, 12:40 Davis 2E Bone Mineral Analysis, 14:35 Mayo Registration to get her port removed.

3/29 was more of the same and visits with our nurse co-ordinator and one of the Lung Team Doctors. So just a couple of tests that day and a meeting with the heart doctor to talk about the heart valve and a review of the tests. Sheila's lung's are doing great  so it was mostly a great report as usual. So good reports and all  is looking good. :))

05//01/17 - Back in the hospital
Back In Jacksonville Florida
Well like the song - "turn around and ..." so April slipped by rather uneventfully. Sheila is helping in the business now and we just keep busy and the month slid by. It's 5/1 and it's back to the May for labs again. So we head off to the Mayo for labs, get them done and then go to breakfast. Next thing we know phone rings, it's Margie and Sheila's Hemoglobin is critically low and they need to do a couple transfusions and run some more tests. They're checking her back into the hospital for a few days. Thus starts the 'Mayo Month". In May we make 10 trips back up to the Mayo. Considered just moving back to Jacksonville for the month, but we didn't so just a lot of driving back and forth. Lots of poking and prodding, meetings with doctors while they figure out what's up and what to do about it and in the end answers come and Sheila decides it's time for a change. So we talk to her nurse co-ordinator and arrange to have her records all transferred to the Mayo in Arizona. Been sitting in one place for too long it seems and it's time to hit the road and go find a new place with new sights to see, places to go wheeling and so forth. So come the first of July we'll be on our way leaving Florida behind to join the many other places we've lived along the way. So look for a little more frequent updates as we move across the country and start a new chapter in the ongoing saga of the Ewing's.
It's only 2 weeks away now and we're both excited at the prospect of new vista's and a new place to explore and discover.

So stay tuned, the adventure continues, there's new sights to see and expores to be had. Till next time keep smiling <:~))
06//25/17 - Leaving Acosta Creek & the river
Leaving Acosta Creek
We're heading to Jacksonville for a last check up before we hit the road for AZ. We'll miss the river out our window, that was a MAJOR attraction for our spot at Acosta Creek, but change is what life is about and we are ready for some new scenery and new places to explore. We're especially looking forward to some wheeling in the desert and the mountains around Phoenix.

The drive up to Jacksonville was uneventful. We had to call and cancel our Monday appointments in Melbourne, but the check up at the Mayo was simply more important. Last minute CT Scan and blood test which found her hemoglobin was low again. Not critical like last time but low enough for another transfusion. The transfusion perked her back up :). Today she had a bronc to check her lungs before we head for AZ and tomorrow we'll get started as soon as they get an all clear on the biopsy they're doing to be sure there's no rejection getting started. So starting a little later than originally planned, but with a few 500 mile days we should be there in plenty of time for her first appointment with the lung doctor in Phoenix. Meanwhile we're sitting in Pecan Park again withuot cable this time. I hooked it up, but it's not working like it used to, so we're on the air card for now. It's been a couple of busy days with Mayo stuff and a few last  minute items to take care of here before we leave Florida. We'll keep you posted as we go along (if I'm up to it). Thos 500 mile days can be a little tiring. But we have 2080 miles to go and 5 days to get there, so I may not need to do more than one or two bigs days and the 300 miles days are a breeze. Till next time be safe, be happy and remember to keep the smiles flowing to everyone you see :)).
07//01/17 - Another steer tire bites the dust
Blown Steer Tire 4
Ok, been there, done that and would prefer not to do it again. Once was enough and 4 times was 4 times too many. But there it is and this time it was a little scary and much harder to control. Picture trying to slow down from 67+ rather than 57 and add to that going down hill and the engine brake turned off. The shaking is definitely relative to the speed and we at least twice the shake last time (the Florida passenger side tire). We were much more all over the road getting it slowed down and under control and over onto the shoulder. The plus side is that everyone was behind or far ahead, no one alongside us while this was going on. The second plus was that the station was 5 miles up the road, so the new tire got there in under an hour. The negative was the 'holiday weekend' cost and the addition of the fuel fill hose joining the casualties this time. Tore it right out of the fiberglass leaving just the top of the cap in the fuel fill space. It also ate the exhaust pipe from the generator and tore up the air lines to the front air bags. I'm guessing that the deflated air bags also added to the handling problems getting it slowed and onto the shoulder.

So here's the lessons learned for what they're worth. When cruising down the road ALWAYS have you engine brake ON and in the highest setting. That engine brake will do a lot to help you slow the rig down and slowing down is the key to keeping control. Also, ignore everyone else - let them fend for themselves, you need all your attention and concentration on keeping the coach pointed straight ahead and as much as possible going straight down the road. I put the center line, divided, 2 lane, highway, in the middle of the coach and just kept it there as we slowed (very slowly) to control speed. So exciting day, but we're still sunny side up and both OK< and that, my friends, is what's called a GREAT DAY!! - Keep Smiling - :) :) :) we are.
07/02/17 -  Van Horn, Tx - view from my window.
Van Horn, Tx
The North Llano River is the view out my window in Van Horn, Tx at the end of an uneventful day after - nothing exciting today, just more miles, more smiles <:~). So there's not much to report on in this pane so I'm using this space to continue the blown steer tire. I've watched a few of the dash cams of RV's blowing a steer tire and have a few obserevations that I think are worth sharing.

In every case I've seen where the RV ended up on it's side the problem was failure to keep the coach moving in a more or less straight line. If you don't have a firm grasp on the sheel when you hear that very loud BANG! so you can immediately tighten your grip and your muscles in order to keep the wheel straight you are going to roll over. So lesson, always keep at least one hand firmly on the wheel. We all tend to relax and take steering for granted - I'm just suggesting that you keep a firm grip on the wheel while you do that. An example of this was going around on the internet not long ago, a RV in the hammer lane, blows a tire and heads straight into the center divier. Once off the hard he was unable to get the coach under controll and rolled it. If you fail to keep the coach, 1. on the hard AND 2. going fairly straight, you are probably going to roll over. You have a second when you hear that bang to lock the arm and hand on the wheel and keep it from spinning and the coach from a major swerve. If the wheel maks a quarter turn before you grab it it's probably too late. You've heard about holding on to reality? Well that steering wheel is reality so hang on to it. Till next time, be happy and be safe.
07/03-04/17 -  Arizona Welcome Center & end of the day. .
Az Welcome Center
The original plan had us running from Van Horn, Tx to Lordsburg, Nm, about 260 miles, but I decided to push a little further and make it to AZ before I quit for the day. We had some things we wanted to get done in Phoenix after we got therre and so I reasoned, if we did the rest area we'd be more likely to get an early start and get to Phoenix earlier in the day so we'd have time to do the stuff we had planned. The plan worked, but it was a noisy rest area and so some yelling out in the parking log got us up around 11:30 and then it took quite awhile to get back to sleep. So the 4th was a tired day but also an easy drive. As planned we did get an early start, left while it was just starting to get light, so we got into Phoenix around noon time. I had the RV park we had decided to use as a starting point in the router so it took us right to it.We got checked in and then just hid out in the RV the rest of the day. It was HOT out when we arrived and I plugged us in and that was it. I planned to go out and hook up the water hose and sewer around dusk, but that didn't happen - otherwise involved catching this up from the trip. By next morning I'd decided to just use the water tank and the pump rather than lay the hose out on the ground in the sun. The incoming water here is warm coming out of the facuet. If you lay the hose on the ground in the sun the water coming in would be scalding I think. I know the car is too hot to touch after a few hours in the sun. We'll be heading a little further north into the mountains this coming weekend to see if we can find a place that's a little coolder to stay, hopeully fulltime, but at least for the summer. The heat here is a killer. For now we have appointments every day at the Mayo, so just short stints out in the heat to get to the car and then into the Mayo then back home. Till next time, keep smiling, be safe and enjoy life :))
07/05/17 -  Desert Shadows Rv Park
Desert Sshadows Rv Park
It was a pretty sunrise, but it over powered the lens I think and washed out the color (I needed to change the settings on the camera) but you can still get the idea. We're on a gravel pull-thru parking area - no trees, no shade and in another hour or so the sun will be baking everying in sight. Weather is over 100 and forcast to continue being over 100 for the foreseeable future so looking on the bright side we won't be cold. We've been looking on the internet for possible places to go near Phoenix but more in the moutains just north of Phoenix. It's supposedly 10 to 20 degrees cooler in the mountains which for now sounds good. Not sure how much that colder will be during the winter, but the immediate need is to get out of the 100+ we're in now. We're staying in the coach with the shades pulled down to add a little more insulation to the windows and just going out when we have to. Another plus is that the power seems good at least early this morning when I looked, it's not dropping more than a volt or two even with all 3 A/C's running. They do shut off for a few minutes during the night, but once the sun is up they all run the rest of the day and for a couple of hours after the sun goes down. Right now, 6am the forecast says 90 at 6am and 112 and 6pm. There's also a high in there of 115 at 3pm. The water tank is filled and the gray tank dumped, the hose put away so nothing that we have to do outside today. We have May at 11:45 to about 2:30, then home and back into the cave. Saturday we are going up to the mountains to look around and might even move Sunday if we find something we really like and the forecase for there is promising. The forcast for Prescott, about an hour and a little drive, is 90's while it's 100+ for Phoenix. We're waiting to be sure the schecule isn't daily visits to the Mayo and if it's not we'll move ASAP. More to come - stay turned. :))
07/11/17 - Oxbow RV Park, Payson, Az
Oxbox RV Park, Payron, Az
BIG CHANGE TODAY - we moved from the picture above (Desert Shadows, Phoenix) to the picture at the left (Oxbox, Payron, Az). Drive comments in a minute but first the important stuff - we left 107 behind and drove up to where it was 86 when we got here and it's 75 and raining right now. We moved from a place where we had the shades all closed all the time to help keep the heat out, to a place where the shades are all up night now. There are trees here :) and a little shade at least part of the day. We moved from hell to heaven and it's delightful here.

Now to the drive - Sheila had labs at 7:45, so we did those and then got breakfast at the Mayo. The next appointment was 11am, so we headed home, got the coach and returned to the Mayo. We went the long way around rather than the way we went in the car on our weekend explore to avoid the constructions on the city streets and it was freeway all the way to the Az87 highway. Then up and down the 87 to the turn off for Oxbow. The turn is something - northbound is about 20 feet higher than southbound and there's just a pull out lane for the left turn and then a VERY STEEP and short drop off piece of road to get you to Oxbow Trail, the street the RV park is on. I could see up the road so waited for a break and then just drove off the edge and rolled down and across the highway. I've also made another discovery, young people are invincible - old people have discovered that they're breakable. So old people go slow in hope of not breaking anything. Makes sense and it's really not something you think about, it just creeps up and bites you. Keep Smiling, we certainly are at the moment. Life is good.
07/15/17 -The View From Rim Road
Rim Road View
The temperature up here in Payson and then on up further into the mountains is warm, but delighftul. It was in the 80's up in the forest and it was really fun to be out exploring again and finding a lot of roads for us to go back and explore further. It's going to be a lot of fun having new sights to see and roads to explore.

The Mayo is still taking up a little time during the week and we're still in limbo a little there. More doctors to see and conversations to have before we get this all figured out. Till next time you all remember 'Feeling good is just a smile away' :)))
07/15/17 -The View From Rim RoadWell it's our first free weekend in AZ and we came, in part, to have some new explores, we'd run out of sights in Florida and we have to say that Arizona looks very promising. For our first excursion we decided on an easy drive, Rim Road is a sort-of maintained dirt road that runs along the edge of the Mongollon rim. The roughly 25mile Rim Road is booked as one of the must see things in this area, so we decided it would be our first adventure. Blow these up (click them to blow them up) as they need to be large to appreciate them. We took a picnic of course and there's a picnic shot which was fun - remote battery was dead so had to run to get into the picture :)). I'm not sure in the desert picture below if it was the smile or the cookie that was the desert, they were both treats for me.
Looking DownTime For DesertView Of The Rim From The Rim RoadThe View
Looking Down from as close     Picnic Site - time for desert    More scenics, it was a drive with a lot of scenics. This is a
  as I get to the edge.                 Is desert the cookie of smile?   local 'must do' so we have that checked off now :))
Picnic In The ForestBirds - Buzzards I ThinkMore ScenicsRim Road
Picnic - can you tell I had to     Critters - Buzzards I think        Another scenic. Too many of    The Rim Road looks pretty
run to get in the picture??         from the looks of them.             them to post them all :))            smooth in the picture lol
07/22/17 -Morning Sunrise
07/22-23/17 -So the other morning as I stepped outside for my morning walk the sky to the far left greeted me. I stepped back in for the camera dn got that sunrise. Do love the dawning of the day. The rest of the pictures are from our Sunday picnic and explore. We just headed north on the AZ87 and started finding dirt roads off the highway a few miles outside of town. I only took a few pictures . They turned out to be short off road adventures, but they were fun and we enjoyed them. We found a good spot for our picnic, and got a little wheeling & sight seeing in at the same time. Life is good :))
Look like it rained recentlyPicnic SpotTonto Natural BridgeSkunk Pig
In the mud & puddles.             Picnic Site with a view            Tonto Natural Bridge        We're always looking for critters
One of the roads we found.     Top of a canyon view down   A natural  wonder they say. so here's our first wild critter.
     That's it for this week. Till next time be safe and stay happy, it really is a choice and smiling keep it a happy choice :))
07/22/17 -Morning Sunrise
Out For Dinner
07/28-30/17 -Sheila's brother and his family came for a visit - a big part of the reason we moved here was to be closer so we could see them more often - so here's a few shots of all of us. Me with a dress shirt (Sheila twisted my arm) and all of us dressed for dinner out. Blow up the pic to the left and look closely, Sheila is there, or at least her face and a hand are there. I got a real chuckle out of that pic - took it with the selfie stick on Sheila's iPhone and I really enjoy that one. Hope you all will as well. Dinner out and a real nice visit. We're looking forward to seeing them again soon.
Gorbis FamilyThe GirlsJ&S After DesertItalian Dinner
Randi, Jenny & Howard            The Girls - Sheila, Randi, Jenny  J&S :))                       A better shot of 'everyone'
      That's it for this week. Till next time be safe and stay happy, it really is a choice and smiling helps with the happy part. :))